Sepsis test could show results ‘in minutes’

  • February 21, 2019
  • A new test for sepsis that can give results within three minutes has been developed by scientists in Britain.

    The low-cost test could save thousands of lives and experts hope it will be available on the NHS within five years.

    At present it can take up to 72 hours to diagnose sepsis, a condition which kills about 52,000 people in the UK each year. The new test developed by Scientists at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde analyses a patient’s blood and provides results as quickly as 2.5 minutes. This is important given that every hour without diagnosis and treatment increases the chance of dying.

    Experts hope the test will be used at the bedside in hospitals and in GP surgeries and in A&E to quickly test for sepsis once approved through clinical trials.

    The test works by detecting whether one of the protein biomarkers of sepsis – called interleukin-6 – is present in a person’s bloodstream.

    Sepsis occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection or injury. Rather than fighting the infection, it attacks a person’s organs and tissues which can result in organ failure and death. If sepsis is detected quickly, it can be treated with antibiotics and lead to a full recovery.

    Symptoms can initially be confused with flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. There is no one sign and sepsis presents differently between adults and children. A delay of just one hour for giving the correct antibiotic can mean an increase in the likelihood of death.

    Ryan Sutherland, 33, a father-of-two who nearly died after developing sepsis believes his condition could have been caught sooner using a rapid test, which experts hope will soon be available on the NHS.

    The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that earlier diagnosis and treatment across the UK would save at least 14,000 lives a year.

    Dr Ron Daniels, the chief executive officer of The UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Any kind of test that enables us to identify sepsis earlier, before symptoms even present themselves, could help save even more lives and bring us closer to our goal of ending preventable deaths from sepsis”.

    We have an experienced team of medical negligence solicitors who can offer you and your family specialist advice. We deal with all areas of medical negligence including delay in diagnosis. Amrit Dhaliwal, Associate Solicitor at the Medical Accident Group said, “If you or someone you know has suffered a delay in diagnosis of sepsis or the condition has not been managed correctly then please contact us.” If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at

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